About David Antin:
David Antin is an American poet, critic and performance artist.
When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.
I'm aware of my audience in a way, and I do try to engage with them while I'm trying to go about my business of thinking. I believe they help me by providing a focus.
While I've had a great distaste for what's usually called song in modern poetry or for what's usually called music, I really don't think of speech as so far from song.
The self is an oral society in which the present is constantly running a dialogue with the past and the future inside of one skin.
The Sophists' paradoxical talk pieces and their public debates were entertainment in 5th century Greece. And in that world, Socrates was an entertainer.
The ancient Greek oral poets all had this anxiety about the deficiencies of their memories and always began poems by praying to the Muse to help them remember.
My rejection of the idea of entertainment in its current form is based on the audience that comes with it.
My mother turned into a professional widow. She couldn't understand why I wanted to be an engineer; she thought I should be a chicken farmer.
It's hard being a hostage in somebody else's mouth - or a character in somebody else's novel.
I've always had a strong feeling for the Statue of Liberty, because it became the statue of my personal liberty.
I'm standing up thinking. Anybody who wants to listen is welcome. If not, I'm happy to see them go.
I'm not sure what theory is, unless it's the pursuit of fundamental questions.
I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.
I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.
I tended to emphasize the secular, the casual, the colloquial, the vernacular against the sacred.
I reserve the right to tell shaggy dog stories or even common jokes as part of what I'm doing. I don't give a damn if half the audience walks out.
I learned enough Hebrew to stagger through a meaningless ceremony that I scarcely remember.
I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.
I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.
From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.